Miller Center

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Jack Kemp and the Tax Reforms of 1981 and 1986

Ronald Reagan listed the 1981 and 1986 tax laws as the two biggest economic policy achievements of his presidency; yet both were achieved by bipartisan majorities at a time of deep partisan division. This symposium, conducted under the auspices of the Jack Kemp Oral History Project, will seek to elicit the thoughts, recollections, and reflections of the people who were key to these legislative initiatives. The goal is to record for history the inside story behind the enactment of these laws 30 and 25 years ago, and in so doing explore the lessons for today.

Morton Kondracke, director of the Jack Kemp Oral History Project, led the discussions. Russell L. Riley, Chair of the Presidential Oral History Program, served as host. The symposium took place on April 18, 2011.

Click to download the full event program (PDF). Full video of the symposium is below.

Downloadable Content

Video: H.264 MP4

Official Welcome

Gerald L. Baliles, director, Miller Center of Public Affairs
Russell L. Riley, chair of the Miller Center’s Presidential Oral History Program

Panel Discussion: Jack Kemp and the Economic Recovery Tax Act of 1981

Panelists:

Bruce Bartlett, Kemp’s staff economist (1976–77) during development of Kemp-Roth I, who showed existence of the Laffer Curve in IRS statistics
Hon. Bill Brock, former Tennessee senator and chairman of the RNC (1977–81), who made Kemp-Roth GOP policy beginning in the 1978 congressional elections
Randy Teague, Kemp’s chief of staff when Kemp-Roth I was developed
John Mueller, Kemp’s speechwriter and staff economist (1979–88), who added inflation indexing to Kemp-Roth II

Moderators:

 

Morton Kondracke, director of the Jack Kemp Oral History Project

Brian Domitrovic, author of Econoclast

Downloadable Content

Video: H.264 MP4

Keynote Interview

Hon. Bill Bradley, former U.S. Senator (D-NJ), managing director of Allen & Company, and host of "American Voices"

Downloadable Content

Video: H.264 MP4

Panel Discussion: Jack Kemp and the Tax Reform Act of 1986

Panelists:

Hon. Robert Kasten, former senator from WI, co-sponsored Kemp-Kasten plan introduced in 1984, the Republican Party’s prototype for the 1986 tax reform
John Mueller, drafted Kemp-Kasten plan
Jeff Bell, Reagan aide (1974–76), served key roles in 1986 reform (as deputy chairman of Citizens for America, 1985–86) and 1988 Kemp presidential campaign
Dave Hoppe, Kemp’s chief of staff (1985–88) when Kemp had to overcome resistance within GOP on tax reform
Alan Reynolds, member of Laffer-Kemp circle and bank economist who later worked for Jude Wanniski at Polyconomics, Inc.

Moderators:

Morton Kondracke, director of the Jack Kemp Oral History Project

Alan Murray, deputy managing editor of the Wall Street Journal

Concluding Remarks:

James Kemp, president, Jack Kemp Foundation